Civil society groups set expectation for COP23: Countries must move fast to close the emissions gap and address escalating impacts

CAN welcomes the opening of COP23, hosted for the first time by a small island state. Fiji was a champion in setting the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius, and will be calling on the entire international community to step up its game to achieve this.

“This year, at the Pacific COP, we hope to highlight the urgency of taking action. We must keep fossil fuels in the ground and move towards a safe and just transition to renewable energy. We must limit warming to 1.5 degrees celsius. It is a matter of survival for many vulnerable nations around the world.

This means immediately phasing out coal and other fossil fuels. Developed countries and major polluters need to understand that their fossil fuels are the Pacific's loss and damage.

We must ensure support is provided to frontline communities already experiencing loss and damage from a problem they didn't cause.”– Genevieve Jiva, COP23 Project Officer, Pacific Island Climate Action Network

Many important decisions will only be taken next year at COP24, but from this conference, we need to make progress on how the process will work, emerging with a roadmap towards success in Poland next year.

Climate Action Network shares the key objectives of the Fiji presidency for COP23: progress in negotiating implementation guidelines, transparency over actions by parties, and defining support for vulnerable people in developing countries.

“When disasters are hitting us one after the other, we have to put a spotlight on how to deal with these impacts. First, people who are being affected need to be supported; we need to help them rebuild their lives and livelihoods. Second, we need to protect them from future disasters.”

Unfortunately, we not only have an emissions gap, we have an adaptation gap. We have not done enough to help people protect their lives and livelihoods.– Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid

A report released by the United Nations Environment Programme states that the gap between actions promised under the Paris Agreement and the reductions needed is still too high.

“We are only about a third of the way that we need to be on a least cost pathway to stay well below 2 degrees C, much less meet the 1.5 C temperature goal. The [UNEP] report says that if that emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is extremely unlikely that the goal of holding global warming below 2  degrees C can be reached. Current commitments make a temperature looking at 3 degrees C by 2100 likely, confirming the results of several other analyses.”

“But the report also contains very good news, showing can we can take actions in the agriculture, building, energy, forestry, industry, transport as well as actions to reduce hydrofluorocarbons and other climate forcers; and that this can provide the solutions we need.

“So we have the solutions we need to the crisis we face. The question is what do we need out of this Conference of the Parties to contribute to moving these solutions forward. – Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists.